Friday, December 5, 2008

We didn't want your business anyway

Balance sheet restructurings aren't just for banks, insurance companies, and automakers sucking at the teet of the federal government. I'm in the midst of my own, just at a much smaller scale--we're talking 7 figures and under, but that's counting the numbers after the decimal point. I think the total assets I'm moving around are worth about 27 Pounds Sterling.

As part of the restructuring, today I went to the bank to deposit a check for a fairly substantial amount of money, but which I will almost immediately be moving somewhere else. Mind you all of this has to be done within a few days, because I've got a hard and fast deadline of the end of this month to get everything wrapped up.

So imagine my surprise when the bank, which I have been a customer of for nearly 12 years, told me that they were putting a 15 day hold on the funds. I don't have 15 days to wait but went ahead with the deposit. After a lot of back and forth and churn of activity between teller and manager, apparently because it was such a large amount of money (?), they finally processed the deposit and gave me a receipt.

I left the bank and went to the 7 Eleven to get a diet coke. I got to the cashier and opened my wallet. The $20 cash back I asked for wasn't there. Probably because the bank never gave it to me. As you know, I'm pretty absentminded, so of course I didn't think to ask for it. In fact, last time I went to the drive-up window, they also forgot to give me my cash, but at least that time I asked for it before leaving.

Back to the bank I go. When I got there, I was informed that there is a little cash dispenser below the teller window, which I didn't notice, but apparently it had my cash in it. Even though the teller never mentioned this. Of course the cash was no longer there.

Since I'm back at the bank anyway, already a little agitated, and I now have the attention of both teller and manager, I asked them about that hold they placed on the funds. They said there was little they could do about it. So I called my brother, who is the Assistant to the Regional Manager at a competing bank and asked him, right in front of the bank manager, how long he would hold the funds if I deposited the money at his bank. "You'd have it right away," was his response. So I reversed the deposit and got the check back.

Except now, since $20 was allegedly dispensed as part of that deposit, the manager doesn't want to just reverse the transaction, because she's got $20 that's unaccounted for. And she wanted me to cover that $20, since, unbeknownst to me, it was my responsibility. I quite firmly informed them that it was clearly not my fault and wouldn't be on the hook for it. And then I left.

Now I don't know about you, but if I were in the banking business and my bank had just been sold to another bank to avoid insolvency, I'd be trying to grab every deposit I could get. So if a customer of many years came in with a reasonably large deposit and right in front of me called a competitor to inquire about depositing the funds there, I'd do what I could to make sure and keep the business. But instead she chose to quibble with me over $20.

I walked out and called my brother to let him know to expect me.